Quiet Pool Pumps
In order to operate as quiet as possible a pool pump must be sized specifically to the pipe size, pool size as well as filter size. Any one of these not correctly accounted for can cause the pump to run loud, or fail early causing problems like annoying bearing squeal.
If the pump is too powerful for the pipe size then cavitation may happen which causes the pump to chug, shake and vibrate. Cavitation also causes internal pump damage to the impeller and is an indiaction that the pump is starved for water by either a suction side restriction like suction lines being too small, or a pressure side restriction like a blocked filter.
How To Find A Quiet Pool Pump
In some cases the noise that a pool pump makes is the most important factor to consider when pump shopping. In one instance I encountered a client who had spent over $175,000 on a concrete swimming pool and hot tub combination. The mechanical room was woefully undersized for the application. This pool had 6 pool pumps installed to control the pool circulation, spa circulation, two for the hot tub jets as well as two more for swim jets in the pool.
The problem was that the master bedroom of this very luxurious house shared a wall with the outside pump room. The noise from the pumps were keeping the owners up at night. They had contacted the original builder as well as a number of other pool companies to try to dampen the sound coming from the room unsuccessfully. All of the rigid plumbing lines had been replaced with flexible lines and sound dampening rubber had been installed under all of the pumps.
For a situation such as this where sound is such a serious concern any pump that runs at single speed (3450 RPM) will simply make too much noise despite best efforts in dampening the vibrations and noise. The new generation of variable speed pumps are incredibly quiet, so quiet you often need to touch it to see if it is on, and are made to handle problems just like this. The only concern is that the variable speed pumps are more money than single speed pumps by as much as 3 times the price.
Variable Speed Pumps
For any new installations a variable speed pump is most certainly the way to go so long as you can afford three times as much money for your pump. Again, remember that you will make that back in no time on these ultra efficient pumps. Retrofitting this type of pump will take some understanding of flow dynamics. Most of the variable speed pumps are made for a minimum of 2" suction and return lines and most existing pools have 1.5" lines which will cause cavitation and other control errors in this type of pump.
This is a step up from two speed pumps which have been used for the past 10 years or so commonly. Though two speed pumps can help to reduce energy costs while maintaining minimum flow and circulation rates they are a far cry from the innovation and efficiency found in new variable speed drive motors.
Hayward Eco-Star Pump
The Hayward Eco-Star, or variable speed pump, represents the newest wave in efficient pool pumps and also marks a new standard for how quietly a pool pump can operate. The variable speed Eco-Star pump by hayward is so energy efficient it can pay for itself in as little as just 2 seasons of service. From a noise perspective it is so quiet that you need to specifically go out of your way to notice if it is in fact running or not.
If you have at least 2" suction lines on your pool and can provide the 3HP power supply required for this powerful, and do not mind investing in the efficiency of your pool then you should seriously consider purchasing this pump. This pump will cost a little over $1000 and the vacuum release safety version of this pump will be $200 or $300 more.
Pentair Intelliflo VS
It would not be fair to mention the concept of ultra quiet and ultra efficient variable speed pumps without mentioning the pioneer of the current available models which is the Pentair Intelliflo VS and the Intelliflow VRVS which also includes a vacuum release similar to the Hayward SVRS Eco-Star.
Again this pump is extremely efficient and quiet, even much more so than regular drive pumps like the Whisperflo model, but fairly expensive. This pump retails for around $900 in the USA and tips the scales at nearly $1500 in Canadian locations.
Jandy Steath Pool Pump
In this situation I recommended that the client replace the circulation pumps for the pool and the spa be replaced with Jandy Stealth model pool pumps. These pump are more expensive than a standard pool pump however they are significantly quieter than many other pump models.
Ultimately we decided to install Jandy variable speed pumps to allow turning the pump down to low speed at night. The ability to run the pump at low speed at night dramatically reduced the noise vibrations for this client.
Pentair Whisperflo vs Jandy Stealth
The most cost effective pool pump with a reputation for quiet operation is the Pentair Whisperflo followed by the Jandy Stealth pump which is about 30% more expensive. The list price for these pumps are $750 for the Pentair and $1000 for the Jandy.
If noise is a big concern you could also consider using a two speed pump however any type of variable speed pump is going to be very expensive when compared to static operation pumps. The primary reason for multiple stage pumps is for electrical efficiency and reduced electricity charges.
Proceed to the next section on Efficient Pool Pumps